Mr. Ray Thomas (Wetaskiwin):
Mr. Speaker, since the house opened on September 15 I have been sitting back in my little corner listening to the flow of oratory from both sides of the house. Because of that realization has come to me that I am among the best speakers available in the country; therefore I am rather hesitant about taking part in this debate.
I should like to add my voice to those of hon. members who have spoken earlier in welcoming the new members from Newfoundland. I speak with firsthand information, because I spent a good deal of time in Newfoundland during the last war. I found that the people of that new province are extremely hospitable, hardy and industrious. With this in mind I should like to say that in my view hon. members from Newfoundland will add greatly to the dignity of this chamber.
For a few moments this afternoon I should like to speak about my home constituency of Wetaskiwin. It is not as large or as barren as some of the constituencies thus far described. Neither does it produce an abundance of fruit, or, as has been brought to the attention of the house previously in respect of the constituency represented by the hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Cruickshank), nuts. My constituency, however, is a mixed farming area. The eastern half consists of rolling fertile hills, with an abundance of water. This makes it an unrivalled mixed farming area. My reference to water is not
confined to rainfall. Sometimes we are a little short of that. I had reference more particularly to the lakes, streams, and sloughs which are so necessary to the raising of livestock. Also in the central part of the constituency one finds a chain of lakes which in their pure scenic beauty are unrivalled anywhere in Canada. Any hon. members who at one time or another may have done a little fishing around Pigeon lake or Buck lake will bear me out in this.
In the northwest section of my constituency one finds immense stands of timber around Breton and Winfield. During the last few years fires have depleted these natural stands, and I say it would be in the interests of all if reforestation in that area were implemented.
On February 13, 1947, the bombshell
exploded. Imperial's Leduc No. 1 well was brought into production, twelve miles northwest of the village of Leduc and twenty miles southwest of Edmonton. The oil rush was on. Overnight small, sleepy, complacent farming towns became buzzing beehives of activity. Tin-hatted oil men were brushing shoulders with the farmers on their way to market.
In December of that year thirty-one wells were in production in that area alone, producing 99,750 barrels of oil. At the end of the first year a total of forty-seven wells had been drilled in the Leduc sector, and out of that, number forty-two had proven to be productive.
Owing to the influx of oil workers, there was a great demand for accommodation. The Imperial Oil Company consulted the provincial planning commission and drew up plans for a boomtown. This town became the town of Devon. One might think that a town of this size or description would be only a group of tumble-down quickly-erected buildings, tents and shacks. This did not prove to be so, however. Devon is one of the most modern small towns to be found in Canada. The bungalows constructed for the use of the oil workers are trim and modern, and would do justice to the residential area of any city in Canada. The streets are landscaped for beauty, and all facilities for recreation and sports have been provided. They have a gymnasium, a skating rink, a curling rink, and recreation grounds.
It will be remembered that Atlantic No. 3 well ran wild for six months, and also resulted in the closing down during at least part of that time of this oil field. But during the six months in which the well ran wild it produced over a million barrels of oil. This fact in itself proves the immense potentialities of that oil field. During the past year a refinery has been built at South Edmonton to accommodate at least part of the oil flow-
ing from this field. I understand that another refinery is being planned at the present time.
During the week ending August 1 last, the daily production of oil in Alberta was more than 2,000 barrels above the average of the previous week, and nearly double the average of the corresponding week last year. A total of 58,826 barrels were produced each day in the week of August 1, compared with 56,648 per day in the preceding week and 30,344 barrels in the week of August 2, 1948. Of this total the Leduc oil field gave 29,377 barrels daily as compared with 27,466 barrels in the previous week and 14,643 barrels in the week of August 2, 1948. I might add that the Redwater production for the same week was 13,408 barrels per day.
The number of operating oil wells was also increased. As of August 2 there were 890 wells in the province as compared with 876 operating wells in the previous week. Leduc went up from 289 to 294 wells, and Redwater jumped from 118 to 127. A total of fourteen wells went into production during that week.
I have before me a newspaper release issued by the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey.
The article reads:
Merrill Denison, a writer on Canadian economics and industry, says in the September issue of The Lamp, a company magazine:
Only a little more than two years ago Canada was importing 92 per cent of the petroleum she used. Today, with oil flowing from the new fields around Edmonton at the rate of 60,000 barrels a day, local production has already reached a level sufficient to take care of the needs of the prairie provinces; and it is more than likely that by 1958 oil from Canada's own ground will be sufficient to supply the rapidly mounting needs of the rest of the dominion as well.
Indeed the discovery of the new oil fields, if the bright promise is fulfilled, will prove more important to Canada's economy than almost any single event in her 452-year history. The promise is already tangible enough...For Canada, at long last, now is able to obtain in quantity from within her own boundaries the raw materials from which to fashion the implements of agriculture and industry, and the fuel with which to power them.
Proved reserves . . . stand today at one billion barrels. And as for the potential, it is believed that the surface has scarcely been scratched. Some idea of its scope may be gleaned from the significant fact that the promising territory is larger than that of the United States five leading oil-producing states-Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, California and Kansas-combined. Ultimate discoveries from this vast area will probably exceed ten billion.
A question was raised in the house the other day as to the advisability of running a pipe line from Alberta through the United States rather than along the Canadian side of the great lakes. The following statement by the Hon. N. E. Tanner may throw a little light on the subject:
The Hon. N. E. Tanner indicated Monday last week that a petroleum exchange agreement may soon be signed with the United States allowing
The Address-Mr. Thomas
Alberta to export oil to that country. Under the agreement, the United States would buy oil at the lakehead; eastern United States producers in turn would sell oil to eastern Canada. Mr. Tanner said such an agreement would only be possible after the completion of a proposed pipe line from Regina to-the great lakes.
Mr. Tanner said that if such a policy were not agreed to by the United States, Alberta oil could only be shipped to eastern Canada at a greater cost. "We don't feel this will be necessary," he said. "We think the United States will co-operate."
He said certain United States interests oppose the United States importing oil from Canada and have accused Canada of trying to invade the American market. An agreement along the lines outlined would do away with any such accusations, Mr.. Tanner stated.
All this adds up to a constituency which is rich in natural resources-and Social Crediters believe that the real wealth of the nation is its natural resources. These riches, fostered and administered so completely by Hon. E. C. Manning and his Social Credit government, makes this indeed a district to view with pride.
I should like to refer briefly to the Department of Veterans Affairs. First I should like to congratulate the government on its magnificent legislation for veterans. I know that in my own personal experience the re-establishment credits and rehabilitation that I received assisted me greatly in setting myself up in business and in furnishing my house. Nevertheless there are some things with which I am not entirely in agreement. I should like to quote a couple of sections of the Veterans Business and Professional Loans Act. Section 3, subsection 1, clause (d) reads::
The minister shall, subject to the provisions of' this act, pay to a bank the amount of loss sustained by it as a result of a loan made to a veteran in pursuance of an application by such veteran in any case where:
(a) the sum of the principal amount of loan, the amount of any loan applied for by the veteran and concurred in by the minister and the amount of any guaranteed loan previously made to the veteran as disclosed in the application of the veteran or of which the bank had other knowledge did not exceed the sum of three thousand dollars.
Then follows clause (e), which reads:
The principal amount of the loan did not exceed two-thirds of the proposed total expenditure by the veteran for the purpose stated in the application.
I take that to mean that the loan that the veteran may obtain cannot exceed $3,000, that the veteran must put up $1,500, and that the loan of $3,000 will have to be the final payment on the business he is proposing to purchase. Section 8 reads:
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Bank Act or any other statute, if a bank makes a guaranteed loan in respect of which it is required by regulation to take security on real or immovable property, the bank may at the time of making such loan take as security for the repayment thereof and the payment of interest thereon,
(a) a mortgage or hypothec upon the real or immovable property in respect of which all or part
324 HOUSE OF
The Address-Mr. Cannon of the proceeds of the guaranteed loan are to be expended;
(b) an assignment of the rights and interest of a purchaser under an agreement for sale of the real or immovable property in respect of which all or part of the proceeds of the guaranteed loan are to be expended.
(2) A bank shall have and may exercise, in respect of any mortgage, hypothec or assignment taken under this section and the real or immovable property affected thereby, all rights and powers that it would have or might exercise if such mortgage, hypothec or assignment had been taken by the bank by way of additional security under The Bank Act.
This would indicate that in order to obtain a loan the veteran has to give a mortgage to the bank. Coupled with the fact that through the Department of Veterans Affairs the government underwrites a certain percentage of the loss in the event that the veteran defaults, it would indicate that this section of the act does not afford any protection to the veteran. In my opinion it is simply designed to protect the banks from these horrible men, the veterans. I urge the minister to consider this matter very carefully so that a veteran desiring a loan to start up a business may use the loan as a down payment in making his purchase. This in itself may not sound like good business, but it was very poor business on the part of the men who gave up their associations here at home and went overseas in order that we might live and be in this House of Commons today. It is only fair that they should be considered not in a businesslike manner but in the light of the deeds they have done.
I am sure all hon. members have received a circular from the superannuated civil servants' association of Vancouver. I need not say very much about it, but these people find themselves in the same position as many others in Canada today. Many people are living on the verge of poverty, barely existing. They include those on old age pensions, blind pensions and disability pensions, as well as those living on the proceeds of various contributory pension schemes. I would urge the government to consider the position of these aged and incapacitated people, and see that they are enabled to live at least in comfort, if not in luxury.
Topic: ANSWERING OF QUESTIONS ON ORDER PAPER
Subtopic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE